T S Eliot reads "Ash Wednesday" Part 1

At the Lenten Caravan in 2014, we used a video of T S Eliot reading the start of Ash Wednesday. I have uploaded the video, below.

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Lent As A Spiritual Practice

I suspect that for most people in Cafechurch, Lent is a bit of an unknown. It sounds boringly self-denying, isn't part of our tradition, and flirts dangerously with works righteousness. I hope that this presentation might go a little way to counteract that. Fun fact - mega-evangelist John Wesley used to fast weekly.

However, having said that, wherever spiritual practices are, um, practiced, there is the opportunity for irritating levels of self-righteousness, dull legalism, and the attempt to make God love you (you know that God already loves you anyway, right?)

The Examen

Preparation: You may wish to light a candle. Do whatever helps you to experience unconditional love. For example, imagine yourself in a favourite place with someone whose love you trust, such as a friend, Jesus or God as you understand God. Put your feet flat on the floor; take a few deep breaths from the bottom of your toes, up through your legs, your abdominal muscles and your chest. Breath in that unconditional love, and when you breathe out, fill the space around you with it.

Boardroom Tycoon vs the Epiphany

I have been playing quite a lot of Boardroom Tycoon recently (yes, I know, but I've got more spare time than I'm used to), and it occurred to me that a game that is all about making money, hiring and firing, and generally all about being a mover and a shaker in this world would provide a really useful foil for thinking about the Epiphany: who is the *real* king, and why?
 

Sharon's Christmas Poem

I love this poem by John J Shea, in which we learn the proper way to repond to the Good News of the Incarnation!

Here is the slideshow I made for it on 10/12/13, uploaded to slideshare for your viewing pleasure!

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Detail from the Isenheim Altarpiece

Faith Stories

Take some time to read this through, quietly, meditatively, slowly - prayerfully on a quiet evening, or early in the morning. Light a candle if you like - that always make me feel spiritual - and hence helps me to concentrate, and to be present in the moment.

This exercise is also available as a pdf attached to this page. Print it out and read through it at leisure, away from your technology!

Ploughs and Faith Stories

Faith development #3 - Adulthood

This is the Third of our Four (or so) presentations on what it means to be an adult in sprituality and faith. Using his book "Finding God Again", we step through John J Shea's description of adulthood as being defined by these attributes: The adult self:

Faith Development #2 - The Living God

In the second of our series on faith development, based largely on John J Shea's book "Finding God Again", we talk about the transformation of our ideas of God from those of the Superego God to the Living God, a God as Thou, God of Love, God of Mystery, God of Freedom and God of Community.

Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross

Faith Development #1 - God of the Superego

This is the first part of a series we are doing about faith development at Cafechurch Melbourne (www.cafechurch.org), l argely based on John J Shea's book "Finding God Again." We want to be adults, with fully functional adult faith, but how do we go about it? This session is about the God of the superego with which we start our journey. These images of God aren't wrong exactly, but they become increasingly inadequate, and as we develop, we need to develop more adequate notions of God.

Blake's Ancient of Days

Gratitude

Gratitude is a worthwhile thing to cultivate. The Bible seems keen on it
("Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances", 1 Thessalonians 5:!8.) Your life, the universe itself,
is nothing but a free gift from God. There are times in life when it is hard to do, but those are also the times when
it is most important. As we see below, the science backs this up. Let us learn and practice gratitude.

What-Went-Well Exercise (Also Called “Three Blessings”)

Seligman, M. Flourish Kindle edition Location 732

Votive candles in Notre Dame, Paris

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